Graphic Design vs. Graphic Art: There is a massive difference in what these terms mean, and, for the record, neither one has to do with understanding the ins-and-outs of brand identity or marketing your services or products.

Graphic design is the skill you need to take a brand (your logo, color palette, and overall identity) and elegantly turn it into rich content with purposeful layouts across all media types. A graphic designer may create websites, business cards, brochures, posters, tradeshow booths, social media graphics, info-graphics, package design, labels, and more. Graphic designers rock because they understand how to make excellent print and digital items work for their brand identity and give the marketing teams the ability to extend their messaging. The designer can be an artist, but most are not.

Graphic art is when a designer takes the skills of graphic design a step further by using traditional artist techniques for entirely custom work for brands that are “scroll-stopping” inspiring visual experiences no one has seen. They use drafting tables, inks, markers, pens, rulers, watercolors, sketch-pads, canvas, and all those tools you imagine a “real” artist has. Not all graphic artists are designers and may even work with one to provide unique content for further layouts on all the required media.

Do they understand marketing? Neither a graphic designer nor a graphic artist can necessarily take the logo, color palette, typography, and graphics to a successful marketing level. However, some do. And this is one of the most important aspects of a successful business. Without knowing exactly how to use what the designer or artist has created for you, it can get confusing, which is why communication arts is a critical talent for the designer and artist to learn. One of the coolest tools a graphic artist can own is a Wacom tablet or iPad with a digital pen. It is amazing the advancements digital technology has taken to create traditional-looking art. It just goes to show that people do want designers to have some artistic skills no matter what!

And, let’s be clear, not all designers or artists in business understand the technical maneuvering to cross-over from print to digital whenever they want. Both worlds have a lot of critical differences!

In my twenties, I knew I wanted to be a designer for life so I went to college and studied advertising, marketing, and graphic design for print media. I loved it and have even worked in a silkscreen & embroidery shop before! But, the world was changing quickly, and my internship back then was at a software development company that turned my world upside down and inside of social media, digital graphics, WordPress web design, social marketing, and everything BUT print work. So I went on my digital adventure, which has brought me so much goodness!

I should also tell you that before acquiring all my designer traits and skills, I worked in sales and marketing myself and even have drawn up mortgages and had light accounting responsibilities in the past. Even my parents were in sales and advertising, with my mother also being a great portrait artist. I tell you this because I am a rare breed of designer who also has developed art and marketing experience over my lifetime.

TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY! I turn forty today, and as I reflect upon my career, I am proud of my accomplishments. The next chapter in my life’s work is to bring this wisdom to an awesome team of people and work on big brands across the globe. I also am hellbent on getting an award, which is a new goal for 2020! I have never been more confident in my craft and myself… and it feels good.

I think it is good to toot your own horn at times and I would love to hear about all the skills and experience you have created over the years too! It is so important to understand what makes you tick and what makes you unique in your industry!


Thanks for reading!

Alley